Biographies of Padre Island National Seashore Superintendents
William L. Bowen (July 1, 1963 - February 1966)
William L. (Bill) Bowen served as the first superintendent of Padre Island National Seashore beginning July 1, 1963. Prior to this, he was chief of the Division of National Park and Recreation Area Planning at National Park Service headquarters in Washington, DC, and regional chief of Recreation Resource Planning of Region III, later called Southwest Region, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Most of the preliminary planning for Padre Island National Seashore occurred during Bowen's years in Santa Fe. While in Washington, however, he participated in securing Congressional authorization of Padre Island as well as Cape Cod National Seashore and Point Reyes National Seashore. During his superintendency, Bowen initiated land acquisition for the park, established a viable public image in the region, and arranged for the first permanent headquarters at Flour Bluff. Superintendent Bowen left Padre Island to serve as chief of Design and Construction at the National Park Service Western Regional Office in San Francisco, California, in February 1966. He retired from the Park Service in 1971 as Director of the Western Service Center in San Francisco. In 1993, he was living in Kentucky.
Ernest Borgman came to Padre Island as its first park ranger in 1964. His previous assignments included Grand Teton, Shenandoah, Everglades, and immediately preceding Padre Island he was chief ranger at Virgin Islands National Park. Borgman, a native of Wyoming, graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He developed the first master plan for Padre Island. When he became superintendent after Bill Bowen transferred in 1966, Borgman continued land acquisition for the park, initiated and oversaw construction of the Malaquite Beach facilities, and presided over the official dedication and opening of Padre Island National Seashore in 1968. He transferred in October 1969 to serve as superintendent of Mt. McKinley National Park and Katmai National Monument in Alaska, headquartered in Anchorage. Borgman retired from his last assignment at Klamath Falls Group, Oregon, in 1980, and no longer maintains contact with the Park Service.
Jim McLaughlin began his National Park Service career in 1954 as a ranger with Yosemite National Park. In 1961 he transferred to the Midwest Regional Office in Omaha working as a park planner. Two years later McLaughlin became superintendent of Muir Woods National Monument, California, and within two years moved to an administrative position with Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina. McLaughlin arrived at Padre Island National Seashore in May 1970 to serve as the first superintendent charged with an operating park. During his tenure, McLaughlin phased out the private use of the spoil islands in spite of significant local objection. He also initiated a ban of four-wheel drive vehicles from the dunes and Little Shell Beach (later reversed) and ended cattle grazing on the island. He transferred to Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in 1973 and retired from the Park Service as assistant superintendent of Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park in 1981. He resides in California.
Jack Turney held a bachelor's degree in physical science and a master's in anthropology when he entered the National Park Service as a ranger at Bandelier National Monument in 1950. From there, he moved to be superintendent of Aztec Ruins in New Mexico and Walnut Canyon in Arizona. In 1967 Turney became superintendent of White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. Six years later he transferred to Padre Island National Seashore to serve as the fourth superintendent. Turney followed the tumultuous years of establishing the National Seashore and thus began his superintendency by building community relations. During his stay at Padre Island, he addressed the declining facilities of Malaquite Beach facilities and strengthened natural resource conservation programs. Turney left to be superintendent at Buffalo National River in 1978 and retired from the Park Service in 1980. He is no longer maintains contact with the National Park Service.
Myrl Brooks began his Park Service career as a ranger at Blue Ridge National Parkway in 1954, then moved to be a district ranger at Acadia National Park in 1962. He became assistant chief ranger at Big Bend in 1963, serving for three years. From 1966 to 1968, Brooks served as chief of interpretation at Theodore Roosevelt National Memorial Park in North Dakota, then moved to Washington to work on master planning projects. In 1971 he assumed the first superintendency at Voyagers National Park in Minnesota. Brooks transferred to Padre Island National Seashore in December 1978. While superintendent he encouraged better interpretation programs and clean-up efforts on the beach. After his tenure at Padre Island, Meryl Brooks maintained contact with the National Park Service until he passed away.
Bill Lukens served over 21 years in various parks in California, Colorado, Utah, Montana, and New Mexico. He transferred from superintendent of Saguaro National Monument in May 1980 to superintendent of Padre Island. During Lukens' tenure, he stressed preservation and conservation of the island's natural and cultural resources. He oversaw the development and adoption of the first General Management Plan/Development Concept Plan (1983), instituted a hazardous waste drum monitoring and removal program, and revised natural resource plans. Bill Lukens retired in September 1987 and lives in Arizona.
John Hunter began as a seasonal Park Service employee at Badlands National Monument in South Dakota. In 1963, he took his first assignment as a ranger at Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site. Hunter became district ranger at Assateague National Seashore in 1966 and then became chief ranger in 1971. His first superintendent position was with Stones River National Battlefield in Tennessee in 1971, then Bandelier National Monument in 1974. Hunter transferred to Padre Island in February 1988. During his tenure at Padre Island National Seashore, he enhanced community relations, raised funds for the new Malaquite Beach facility, and oversaw its completion. He transferred to the Southwest Regional Office in March 1991 and retired soon afterwards to the Corpus Christi area.
Butch Farabee began his permanent career with the National Park Service as a ranger in Glen Canyon NRA in 1965. After a three-year term with the Tucson Police Department, Farabee worked at Lake Mead NRA from 1968 to 1970 and then moved to Yosemite National Park in 1971. He transferred to Grand Canyon National Park in 1981 as Assistant Chief Ranger. He advanced to Management Assistant before leaving in 1986. Farabee served as the first Emergency Services Coordinator in Washington, DC, from 1986 to 1991 then came to Padre Island. After leaving Padre Island, he spent the rest of his career as the Assistant Superintendent of Glacier National Park, although most of his time was actually spent as acting Superintendent. He retired on December 31, 1999 credited with 34 years of service. After retirement he wrote the book "Death, Daring, and Disaster: A History of Search and Rescue in the National Parks". It was published in 1998 by Roberts Rinehart Publishers.
Patrick McCary began his National Park Service career in 1977 as a maintenance worker at Rocky Mountain National Park. In late 1977, he transferred to Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity NRA, as a maintenance mechanic leader. McCary moved to the Denver Service Center in 1980 to serve as a project supervisor for Michigan, Maine, and Massachusetts, and assumed the position of contract administrator for the West Coast and Alaska in 1983. After two years, he became regional contracting officer for the former Pacific Northwest Region before being transferred to the former Southwest Region as division chief for contracting and property management. In 1989 McCary received his first appointment as superintendent at Lake Meredith NRA. He became the ninth superintendent of Padre Island National Seashore in 1996. Following his service at Padre Island Mr. McCrary went on to serve as Superintendent at the new Oklahoma City National Memorial in 1998 then again as Superintendent at Lowell National Historical Park in 1999.
Jock Whitworth began his career as a seasonal ranger at Montezuma Castle National Monument in 1978. He received his first permanent position as a park ranger/dispatcher at Grand Canyon National Park, also in 1978. A year later he transferred to Wupatki and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monuments as a lead park ranger. He worked as a district ranger at Carlsbad Caverns National Park from 1983 to 1985 and as a district naturalist at Theodore Roosevelt National Park from 1985 to 1988. This was followed by his first superintendency at Big Hole National Battlefield from 1988 to 1993, from there he transferred to Rocky Mountain National Park as the West Unit Manager. While at Rocky Mountain NP he served as the acting superintendent at Chamizal National Memorial for six months.
Last Updated: 14-Jun-2005